The goddess Leto, daughter of Zeus and the Titans Coeus and Phoebe, gave birth to two children who would stand up to take part in the Olympic pantheon. The twins were named Apollo and Artemis, and their arrival on earth was not so simple.
Zeus’ wife, Hera, is madly jealous of Leto and tries to prevent Leto’s two children from being born. He angered Leto and sent a snake to frighten the goddess and prevent her from finding a place to carry her children. It was the goddess Asteria who offered her sister refuge on the island of Ortygia, and there she gave birth to Leto, Artemis, and Apollo.
Artermis was born first and immediately began helping her mother during the nine days of labor she endured to give birth to her son, Apollo. Leto’s aunt, Themis, nursed the twins, feeding them ambrosia and nectar, the food of the gods.
Apollo and Artemis loved their mother deeply and protected their mother’s safety and dignity. The story of Greek mythology tells how Artemis and Apollo prevented Leto from being raped by Titus in the Delphi grove. They tied the giant Titus with arrows summoned by their mother, and the arrows that rained down on him killed him in an instant. Zeus was enraged by what Titus had done and handed him over to Hades.
Another legend tells how Artemis and Apollo killed all the children of the goddess Niobe, insulting Leto by boasting of the superior beauty of their own children. However, it is unclear whether this was due to his defense of their mother or his own anger.
At a young age, he told Artemis to name the gifts she asked for by Zeus. Artemis chose a bow and arrow, free reign of the mountains, a city to live and eternal virginity. Zeus granted all these wishes. Artemis would be seen as the virgin goddess of the hunt and wildlife. She was also seen as the protector of women giving birth, she.
Apollo would become the god of archery, healing, music and youth. Greek mythology tells how Apollo took the bow created for himself by Hephaestus and chased the snake all the way to Delphi, where he killed it. Gaia was angered by the desecration of her temple, where the Oracle of Delphi lived. Apollo was not punished for his crime and in time became the god of Prophecy and the Oracle of Delphi became the Oracle of Apollo.
He would also become an influential music god whose musicianship was unparalleled. Many invited Apollo to musical talent contests, but not all could defeat the god.
While Apollo was certainly not an immortal virgin, he never married. He was the father of more than a dozen children by many women, both goddesses and mortals.
The twin gods and goddesses Apollo and Artemis were forever linked in Greek mythology. Both are expert archers and often hunters who like to hunt together. They also shared his ability to inflict plague and plague on mortals.